A very common method of creating lecture content it to record what is happening on your computer screen. This could be a powerpoint presentation, a coding environment, a web tour, or anything that is relevant to your learning objectives.

Before you begin, and this means well before you sit down to record a new piece of content, there are a few things that will save you some time and help you create great content.

Define your learning objectives

Write these from the learner's point of view - what will they be able to do once they've participated in your learning module? By articulating these before you begin, you're most likely to cover your main points without too much wandering. Keep in mind that the ideal length for a concept video is under 8 minutes. When defining your outcomes, it might help to think about how long it will take you to teach that concept and how you might break larger concepts down to smaller ones. 

Prepare an outline

While your lecture need not be fully scripted, it is extremely helpful to have an outline. This way, even before you begin, you can ensure that you are meeting your learning outcomes.

It is encouraged that you maintain your personality while you are recording your lectures. Don't be afraid to venture a touch off course, as long as it is useful. On the flip side, don't just read your Powerpoint presentation. It can be helpful to think that you're speaking directly to one learner - pace yourself like you would in a one-on-one session. 

Your outline can also contain some reminders to re-iterate your main points. As you move from section to section, it can be very useful to provide a high level recap of content that was just covered and then link to where the lesson is going. Unlike in a face to face environment, you won't have body language and eye contact to guide your teaching, so it's best to build in these check in/recap moments to ensure that everyone is keeping up. You can even include in your script language like, "We're going to move on to x concept, if you're still a little confused about y concept, re-watch the last thirty seconds to make sure you're comfortable before proceeding."

Prepare your Script

The more preparation you put into your content, the more effective it will be. While there is never the expectation of perfection - this can be a natural, organic process - you do want to be organized and professional. Rehearsing can help you work out any kinks - is there an area that is unclear? Does the content flow well? Is the content clear and concise? If you're concerned about clarity, you can ask someone to listen to you practice. This could help identify any muddy points in your script.

Introduce the lecture

In point form, articulate what this video will be about. An ideal video length is 5-7 minutes, which only gives you enough time to cover a few concepts. Articulating your introduction can help you ensure that your planned content will be of appropriate length.

Summarize your main points frequently

Unlike in a classroom, there's no visual indication or feedback from the students about how they are doing. In order to assist with comprehension and to increase clarity, it works well if you repeat your main concepts clearly and often. This will also reassure your learners that they are following along and are focused on the right pieces of information.

Rehearse your Content

Practicing should include both your verbal component and the visual component. You might know what you'd like to say, but saying it at the same time as navigating your computer applications might take a bit of time to perfect. If you're having any difficulty with this side of it, contact the EdTech Office for some assistance. As you get better at this process, you might find that you can decrease the amount of time that you spend practicing. You will develop a flow and routine for your own production process.

Tips and Tricks

Creating online content is a time intensive process. Not only are you re-thinking your content, and how to teach it, you're often faced with a multitude of new technical tools. In order to maximize your time invested, you want to create high quality content that can be re-used year to year. Things to keep in mind to make this happen:

  1. Do not reference the Course Title, Course Section, or any other identifying course details: Doing so limits the re-use of the video because it is so specifically embedded within that one course.
  2. Do not number your video order: Doing so makes it more difficult to add in new videos (it will disrupt the order) or to re-use your videos in other courses. You might, in the future, want to use only a few videos versus your entire set, or perhaps a fellow instructor wants to use your content in their course.
  3. Do not reference current events: While making jokes and being yourself are highly encouraged, it's best to not date your videos by referencing current events (say, a great Jays season).

Go for it!

At the end of the day, this is your content! Work on a design and process that you're excited to get working on. If you're strong in front of the camera, use that! If you have a great hand for drawing, use that! Don't be afraid to try something and to experiment. You are encouraged to send us a sample of your content (just upload it to YouTube and send us a link) and we'd be happy to review and provide feedback.

Play to your strengths, don't be afraid to make a mistake, and always, always test using a 30s video before you record something longer (you want to make sure your audio and video are recording properly!).


Article Category: Best Practices, How To Guide